Don't be afraid to say NO to people

You've probably had a friend, family member, or even your own partner do this to you at one point or another: You make a request -- say, ask them to join you on a trip -- and instead of giving you a direct answer, they beat around the bush and keep you on standby forever. Rather than tell you "no," they simply let the hours and even the days go by until you get the point and proceed to do whatever it is you contacted the individual about on your own.

How annoying, right? Why do people do this?

It's quite simply, really.

People hate being the bearers of bad news. For some people, leaving others out in the cold and letting their inquiry go answered is less painful than merely saying "no thanks." I've lost count of the many times my friends have done this to me. I've proposed going out on a Friday night, and they've responded with something along the lines of, "Hmm, let me look at my schedule and I'll get back to you." Alas, I never hear from my friend again until the following day or week.

If this isn't leaving someone hanging, I don't know what is. In my view, it is rude and inconsiderate not to give someone a straight answer. Would people do this to their boss? Absolutely not. So what gives them the right to remain unresponsive?

If this sounds like something you do, realize that declining an invitation to do something isn't as piercingly painful to the other person as you might think. It's better to be honest about why you can't meet their request than to never give the person an answer. That way, the individual has time to ask someone else.

If you know someone who does this to you routinely, don't let it stand. Tell the person that it isn't right to go silent on you when you're waiting for an answer. Let him or her know that you prefer a "no" to no response at all. If the behavior persists, it's up to you whether you feel the relationship is worth keeping.

Surely, someone has done this to you -- or you're guilty of having done it yourself. Did you and the other person have a conversation about it?  Was the problem resolved?

Share your thoughts on the blog and on Google +. And check out previous posts by clicking here: How to Understand People


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